Though we’d love to imagine the best for everyone, sometimes when new families come together, things get ugly.
A parent who brings two families together has to decide how they will balance the situation, stressed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor threwvaway9707 was overwhelmed with work and other responsibilities, and she left her son and new husband to sort out their feuding relationship.
But when retaliations escalated in the household, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what else to do.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for punishing my son for throwing away my husband’s bible?”
The OP tried to let her husband handle his arguments with her son.
“My husband (37) and my son (16) fight a lot. A lot, and I tried to intervene, but my husband asked me to stay out of it while he works it out with my son.”
“My husband came up with a bunch of nicknames to call my son. It all started when they fight, and in each fight or argument, my husband comes up with a new nickname to call my son until they fight again or until my son apologizes.”
“Some nicknames have been ‘Dipstick, Stone Cold Embarrassment, A**clown, Imbecile, Dweeb, etc…'”
The latest nickname led to a serious argument.
“Since their latest fight, my husband has been calling my son ‘A**clown.'”
“My son spoke up about how annoying it was and threatened my husband that if he don’t stop, then he’ll throw away something of his.”
“Days ago, my son had friends over while I was out. My husband called him ‘A**clown’ in front of his friends, which caused a huge fight between them.”
“My husband later called me panicking, saying my son took his Bible after their fight and refused to give it back.”
“I went home and asked my son what happened.”
“He told me my husband embarrassed him by calling him this nickname in front of his friends.”
“I told him I’d talk to my husband later but asked him to give back the bible.”
“He said he no longer had it because he threw it out.”
The OP stepped in for punishment.
“I was in shock. I told him this was offensive to his stepdad and his religion and he should have never resorted to this type of retaliation.”
“He said he already warned my husband and that he could easily go get a replacement from the church.”
“I got mad because this was a line he shouldn’t have crossed. Throwing out stuff is never okay.”
“I punished him and took his allowance for the rest of the month.”
“My son argued about how unfair this was and that my husband got away with it, though he started it.”
“I refused to argue because he was just lashing out and not ready to listen.”
“I exited the room and then spoke to my husband about it.”
“My husband promised this all would stop if my son gets properly punished for what he did, and I let him know he got his punishment.”
The OP’s ex-mother-in-law was not happy.
“But, my son wasn’t having it. He called his grandmother (my ex-mother-in-law), and she tried to come to my home and yell at me, but I refused to let her in.”
“She texted that I was being unfair and just wrong for punishing my son.”
“I replied that he did something worth punishing and no matter who started what, throwing away stuff isn’t okay. She kept calling but that was it for me.”
The OP clarified a few points after reading the early comments.
“First, I never agreed to my husband’s way of trying to work his issues out with my son, but I got convinced that they both need time and space to be able to get these issues resolved without me intervening.”
“Second, the punishment was only served because he threw the book out. I still am not okay with this whole nickname calling despite my husband saying that it’s some form of teasing. I’m 100% on my son’s side in this.”
“Third, I did try to find solutions to these problems that kept occurring, and even arranged for family therapy, but neither one of them agreed to go. My husband offered to take my son to church but my son refused.”
“Fourth, being the breadwinner and working long hours, I’m always tired and struggling to keep everyone satisfied and happy. It’s too much pressure to be keeping an eye on every little thing in the house, while no one is willing to sit down for a heart-to-heart conversation.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP was punishing the wrong person.
“If the OP’s husband pokes the family dog in the eye with the stick multiple times and after long enough, the dog barked at husband, OP would blame the dog instead of thinking the dog is a hero for not biting.”
“It’s one thing to put a blind eye to abuse. It’s even worse to get involved to punish the victim when they push back in such a mild way.”
“OP is lucky they never got in a physical altercation or her son didn’t damage something that was actually expensive or something else horrible. Losing a Bible isn’t a big deal; it’s crazy how bad it could have gotten. OP should be thankful, not angry at her son.” – chanaramil
“She’s perfectly fine punishing him for doing something ‘wrong’ even though it’s only a long-overdue attempt to fight back at a verbally abusive stepfather, who’s trying to shove his toxic religion down his throat.”
“Hopefully, this kid can go live with his grandmother or someone who cares about him.” – VelvetMerryweather
“Yes, you’re in a situation where the hub’s happiness was more important than your son’s. This didn’t happen overnight. Your inaction for fear of losing a man has come to this!”
“Of course, the boy won’t go to church, look what it’s done for his stepfather! Made him a jealous, abusive troll who thinks church is a mere ‘good look’ to people who don’t know him personally.”
“Hush with the excuses and stand up for your son!” – ellylions
Others agreed and said the OP was also complicit in abusive behavior.
“Don’t forget that the guy told her not to interfere and the second the kid did something that hurt him, he went called her in panic. All the while the poor boy was alone and no one was hearing him.”
“It is clear that the OP is downplaying the psychological abuse. If the husband were beating the boy, I think it would be more clear to her. Since it is only verbal, she thinks it is not damaging. But psychological abuse is very damaging.”
“Don’t allow that man to continue hurting your son. YTA.” – SkyLightk23
“OP claims she’s not around a lot so she probably leaves her son with stepdad alone a lot. Abuse can easily go on when she’s not around, and she refers to her husband’s insults and instigations as ‘nicknames’ instead of ‘bullying,’ ‘insulting,’ and ‘provoking’ her son. I fear she may be on a similar wavelength to the husband.”
“She’s allowing his behavior solely because stepdad wanted to solve it between themselves, and she respects her husband’s wishes more than she cares about her son’s feelings and wellbeing when it would be better for her to dive in and protect her son.”
“She’s downplaying how her husband treats her son, and she has spoken and raised concerns with the husband but backed off just for the reason that stepdad doesn’t want OP intervening.”
“No promises to be nicer, no agreement to stop with the name-calling/insults, no agreement to counseling (unless it’s to go to… church, which would only benefit him as OP’s son clearly isn’t religious if he tossed a Bible in the trash can).”
“How does stepdad intend to fix things? More insults? He won’t even sit down with OP and the son to talk.”
“OP has stepped back and stopped being really involved and she for some reason only saw to step in and punish her son when he did something morally wrong in her opinion.”
“She ignored the fact that this was an act of desperate retaliation to make the abuse stop, grasping for power in a situation where neither parent was in his corner.”
“OP doesn’t sound like she’s a comrade in abuse, but an enabler, definitely.”
“If OP had asked her husband to apologize and he lashed out at her instead of her son, I would be more inclined to believe he’s abusive to all instead of only the one person in the house he has power over.”
“Oh, and OP, YTA if it wasn’t clear.” – pineapplesodaa
“YTA!! YTA YTA YTA!!!”
“Why would you take your husband’s side over your son’s in the first place?”
“Secondly, your husband sounds like a TOXIC and ABUSIVE adult.”
“Lastly, you’re turning a blind eye to abuse. You’re allowing for trauma to take place in your son’s life. I’m so glad his grandmother is standing up for him, because sadly sounds like she’s the only one in his corner.” – RoseGoldLuna
“So let me recap one thing real quick : your husband is a Christian and goes around calling a TEENAGER names… that’s such a good example of Christianity…”
“YTA all the way. What your son did is just peanuts compared to your husband’s abuse.” – Beabandit
“Names like assclown are not nicknames. They’re bullying insults.”
“While I don’t approve of your son throwing out your husband’s Bible, I think your husband should spend more time reading the Bible and it’s lessons on love and kindness.” – classicigneousrock
“Oh no, not the gasp BIBLE! Your son should have made an arts and crafts project with it to demonstrate how horrible both you and stepdad are.”
“Y’all are BOTH abusive. YTA I hope his granny takes him away from this mess.” – anonymooseuser6
“YTA, your son is being verbally abused by your husband. I am hoping his grandmother does something.”
“Ditch the husband who apparently is a mooch before you lose your child forever.” – Diligent-Ad6633
“YTA – you created the pressure by marrying a man & allowing him to remain in the home while he abuses your son.”
“You continue to allow the abuser to remain In your home, therefore you continue to allow your son to be subjected to abuse, so you are continually CHOOSING to keep the pressure on you (& your son sadly).”
If you feel ‘too much pressure’ when you are the one choosing to allow this man to abuse your son, imagine how helpless your poor son feels being abused by this man & forsaken by his mother.” – Evading_Suffocation
“YTA! WTH lady? Your husband calls your child Dweeb, imbecile…etc… and you LET HIM?”
“This is your KID and you let him talk to your son like that? Does he have a parent who likes him that he can go live with?” – maderisian
A few wouldn’t have been surprised if the son went no-contact as soon as possible.
“I’m waiting for OP’s surprised Pikachu face when her son walks out the door at 18 and never looks back.” – ZippyKat85
“My brother, when he turned eighteen, told my father two his face that after years of name-calling and abuse, he was breaking off contact, he did not want to hear any further from his sperm donor, and if their next contact was the notice of his death, it would still be too much.”
“He’s not alone in his option, but saying it to his face took serious balls. Or, well, serious trauma.” – Pwacname
“I hope the son goes and lives with his dad or their family instead of Mr. & Mrs. A**clown… Why would any teen need this pair in their lives?” – moanaw123
The OP may have thought her son had done something terrible, but the subReddit believed what she and her husband were doing was far worse.
Bullying in the home is nothing to be minimized, and no matter how much she might say she doesn’t like it, the OP’s actions suggested complicity.